Monday, August 22, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Giants 41, Bears 13
By Ohm Youngmisuk
WHAT IT MEANS: The Giants picked up their first preseason win of the year, but suffered their biggest loss of the year.
Cornerback Terrell Thomas, who was having an excellent training camp and was primed for a big season, tore his ACL with 22 seconds remaining in the first half when defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul appeared to leg-whip Thomas while both were pursuing Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Thomas eventually got up and limped into the locker room, but the devastating news was confirmed later by ESPN's Suzy Kolber that Thomas is likely lost for the season.
SECONDARY INFIRMARY: It's been dangerous being a Giants cornerback this season. Thomas is the third defensive back to go down in camp. Cornerback Bruce Johnson suffered a season-ending Achilles tendon injury early in camp. Right after that, first-round draft pick Prince Amukamara broke a bone in his foot and could be out until mid-to-late September.
Now Thomas, who led the team in interceptions (five) and tackles (101) last season, is gone. Right now, the Giants' starting corners will be Corey Webster and Aaron Ross. Michael Coe moves up the depth chart. Brian Witherspoon has had a nice camp, but he had to go back into the locker room for X-rays on his knee during this game as well. The Giants will now keep their eyes out for another cornerback, if for anything else to add depth.
On Monday night, the Giants used Webster and Ross on the outside with Thomas inside on third downs at times. Safeties coach Dave Merritt had said prior to the Giants re-signing Deon Grant that Thomas could've filled that third safety role for the team this year.
If the Giants don't add another defensive back of note, Perry Fewell likely will have to play his three safeties quite a bit this year without Thomas.
Ross did have a nice game, breaking up three passes.
SPECIAL PERFORMANCE: The Terrell Thomas news overshadowed the Giants' best special teams performance in more than a year. Wideout Devin Thomas had returns of 33, 73 and 32 yards in the first half. He provided the kind of spark so desperately needed on kickoff returns.
And if that was all that happened on special teams, that would've been enough to be happy about. But then rookie linebacker Greg Jones blocked a punt on fourth-and-1 at the Chicago 47, recovered it at the 14-yard line and returned it to the 6-yard line before fumbling the ball.
Fellow rookie linebacker Jacquian Williams recovered the ball and ran it into the end zone, but by rule the ball was placed back at the spot of the fumble.
The punting competition continued to heat up between Matt Dodge and Steve Weatherford. Dodge hit a 63-yarder, and Weatherford had a 57-yarder as well.
CRUUUUZ: Victor Cruz got the nod as the starting third wide receiver on Monday night and he came up with an impressive 21-yard catch on a fourth-and-4 at the Bears' 32-yard-line with 5:16 left in the first quarter. Cruz caught the ball over the top of D.J. Moore.
Cruz had three receptions for 40 yards but also was chewed out by offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride following one play as well.
Next up for Cruz is the New York Jets. And Rex Ryan remembers what Cruz did to his defense last year in the preseason.
GETTING OFFENSIVE: The Giants' offense looked much better than it did in the team's preseason opener against Carolina. Brandon Jacobs rushed for 48 yards, including an impressive 18-yard touchdown run in which he faked out safety Major Wright so badly that Wright crumpled to the turf. And then Jacobs dragged Chris Harris into the end zone as well.
Eli Manning completed just 8 of 16 passes for 78 yards and needs to work a bit on timing with his receivers. But the showing was a step in the right direction.
New center David Baas also looked good, throwing one nice block to spring Ahmad Bradshaw free on a short pass.
Rookie running back Da'Rel Scott capped off the Giants' scoring on the night with a 97-yard scamper for a touchdown.
PAIN IN THE FOOT: Left tackle Will Beatty had X-rays on his foot as well. The results were negative.
NEXT UP: The Giants face the Jets and Plaxico Burress on Saturday night. Should be an interesting week.